skip to main content

US Navy shipbuilding plan reflects need for “significant additional” investments to build larger force

One US Navy shipbuilding scenario would move Ford-class aircraft carrier procurement to four-year centres. (Michael Fabey)

The US Congress will have to markedly increase unconstrained shipbuilding funding if it wants the US Navy (USN) to reach the stated 355-ship force by the middle of this century, according to the USN Report to Congress on the Annual Long-Range Plan for Construction of Naval Vessels for Fiscal Year 2024, released on 18 April.

As noted by a US Congressional Research Service (CRS) report released on 13 April, the 355-ship goal was made US policy in December 2017. While the number “does not reflect the new, more distributed fleet architecture”, CRS reported, “the navy and the Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) have been working since 2019 to develop a successor for the 355-ship force-level goal that would reflect current National Defense Strategy (NDS) and the new fleet architecture, but have not been able to come to closure on a successor goal”.

The new USN shipbuilding plan released on 18 April includes three scenarios, but only one of which reaches the 355-ship policy goal.

The first two scenarios reflect “a budget with limited growth matched to planned, but not yet achieved, industrial capacity and one reflecting a larger force with additional resources beyond the FYDP [Future Years Defense Program]. Each alternative assumed industry eliminates excess construction backlog and produces future ships on time and within budget. The procurement profiles for PB [President's Budget] 2024, Alternative 1, and Alternative 2, were constrained to 2.1% SCN [Shipbuilding and Conversion, Navy] growth after the FYDP. Alternative 3 was predicated on what the [Navy] Department assesses the industrial base could support with significant additional investment not reflected in this plan, without funding constraints”.

Looking to read the full article?

Gain unlimited access to Janes news and more...